Band Agreements

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By John Snyder, courtesy of Artists House



You want to break up a band? Try getting them to sign a band agreement.


Why do you need a band agreement? To answer the following questions:


• What’s your organizational structure? LLC? Partnership? Inc.?
• Who owns the name?
• Who owns the songs?
• Who owns the recordings?
• Who collects what money and how is it divided?
• Who’s responsible for what?
• How do you buy/sell equipment? 2/3rds?
• How do you get rid of somebody? Hire somebody?
• What happens if somebody dies?
• Who’s a “keyman” for record company purposes?
• What affect does the presence of a manager or agent have?
• What are the rights of the individuals in the band?’
• What happens if the band breaks up? (How does a “company” break up?)


Most bands don’t get far enough in their commitment to need to answer these questions, and since they are very hard questions to answer and can lead to hurt feelings, they can even break up bands. It’s all about friends till it’s not, unfortunately.


The rub usually comes when you talk about who gets to put their names on those songs. You don’t see too many “group” authors of songs, or books, or visual art. There may be co-writers and authors, but basically, somebody’s name is on the song, which means they own it. But the band may confuse the recording, the arrangement, the cool bass line and the funky drum pattern with “writing the song” . . .  read more at

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